Architectural Daylighting System


Objectives of the Demonstration

The 3M core daylighting system pipes sunlight deep into buildings, thereby reducing electrical energy use in the building and providing occupants with natural sunlight, even in areas of the building that are remote from external windows. The objective of this project is to establish the feasibility and benefits of the daylighting system through a demonstration installation, performance documentation, and analysis of the results. System performance will be evaluated as a function of energy consumption for lighting and as a function of occupant performance. The demonstration will be conducted at Fort Bliss, Texas.

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Technology Description

The daylighting system has two main components, one for collecting sunlight and another for efficiently distributing it within the building. Sunlight is captured by an exterior collector mounted on the rooftop. The collected light is then transported through the solar ducts into the core of the building, and finally the light is extracted from the ducts and distributed to the occupied portions of the building. The uniqueness of this system results from the 99+% reflective properties of the film used to transport and distribute the light (enabling a greater depth/distance that the sunlight can be piped into a building) as well as the design of the collectors themselves (focusing on reliable performance and optimal light concentration).

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Implementation Issues

The 3M core daylighting system enables reduced energy usage by utilizing natural sunlight as a high-quality alternative to conventional artificial lighting, allowing electrical lights to be turned off or dimmed when not needed. Further, it is most effective during the peak electrical usage hours of the day when energy rates can be at their greatest. The use of electric lighting contributes to substantial heat gain due to inefficient light sources, resulting in increased cooling demands. Several studies have shown that better use of daylight can reduce energy demands by 20-40% while reducing emissions and carbon footprint. The system also provides glare-free, full spectrum lighting, which has been shown to contribute to building occupant health and safety as well as increased worker productivity.

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Mr. John Olfelt

3M Company

Phone: 651-737-1995

Program Manager

Energy and Water